Is there an elephant in this room?

I have never had cancer before, but I have found that people in general react in really strange ways when you tell them. This is a sensitive topic, but so many times I have felt like there is a huge elephant in the room and no-one is talking about it.

Partly I understand that people want to respect your privacy and don’t want to raise the subject to make you feel uncomfortable. I am also not sure if it is a cultural thing, but many times it would be nice if people ask me how I am? By saying this, I don’t want to be the centre of attention, but I recall when a friend of mine who was not that close to me was diagnosed with cancer. I recall asking him how he was, wishing him strength in his battle and mentioning that if he needed anything that he could count on me. People haven’t asked me that…I don’t know why. It’s usually me that raises the issue and mentions that there is an elephant in the room. A bit of conversation later and everything feels lighter and the elephant has left.

On a professional level, when I have mentioned it, I have got some mixed reactions. Silence is common, followed by the subject being hushed and the topic of conversation changing very quickly, only making me feel like I should have not even mentioned it. I don’t feel that people are un-polite, but maybe they are caught off guard, are shocked and not know how to react. I have chosen not to talk about it, because in part I feel that people don’t understand it and seem to misinterpret it. I don’t know if they see weakness in me when I mention it, or if they think that an ill architect is not in the best interest of their project.

If you have or had cancer, did you feel this as well? This kind of strange silence around you? I find it very uncomfortable.

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